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Leaders from the Red Earth and Shoal Lake Cree Nations in Canada are urging people to keep children safe as they mourn the loss of a 5-year-old boy who went missing in April.
Frank Young was found in a river 81 days after he went missing on the Red Earth Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. He was last seen playing outside.
His family (from both communities), Native leaders, and police held a press conference this week, streamed live by APTN National News.
They talked about the young boy’s life, the investigation and next steps.
His grandmother Teresa Whitecap says he loved preschool and was excited to start kindergarten in the fall.
His favorite cartoon to watch was “PAW Patrol”.
“Frank was always eager to go to school and on the home setting his favorite was PAW Patrol. He had some toys with PAW Patrol and he loved playing with siblings that were staying with him.”
Shoal Lake Cree Nation Chief Marcel Head says the communities will hold child safety awareness campaigns as part of efforts to avoid another tragic event from happening again.
“We live in a day where things are very challenging. It doesn’t take long until we find ourselves in a very hard predicament and that’s why we need to pay close attention and keep our children, keep a close eye on our children. We beg you to keep your children safe.”
Police say even with extensive searches of the area and the use of technology, they could not overcome the natural environment where the boy was found.
Barriers for searchers included high water levels, which covered land and created dangerous conditions.
Police say the investigation will continue. They do not suspect foul play.
Services started on Wednesday on Red Earth and will continue on Shoal Lake on Thursday and Friday where Frank will be buried.
Leaders say donations, which came in to help support search efforts, will be used to create a memorial on Red Earth.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs passed the nomination of Roselyn Tso to serve as director of the Indian Health Service.
Tso, a citizen of the Navajo Nation, is currently the director of the Navajo Area IHS.
Committee chair Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) says Tso is well qualified to serve in the position, noting her efforts to help tribes with the COVID-19 pandemic and her dedication to improving health care for Native communities.
The IHS director is charged with leading the agency, which provides care to more than two million American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Tso’s nomination passed the committee by a voice vote and is now ready for consideration by the full Senate.
The agency has been without a director since January 2021 after the former leader resigned as the new presidential administration took office.
Minnesota state officials on Wednesday announced the appointment of Tadd Johnson to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents.
Johnson is the first Native American ever appointed to the board.
The board was established more than 170 years ago.
Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan says Johnson will give a voice to Native students and his appointment was made possible by advocacy by the Native community.
Johnson recently retired from working in higher education and is currently working for a Minnesota tribe.
He’s an enrolled member of the Bois Forte Band, an attorney and has a long list of accomplishments in his career including tribal judge, gaming commissioner, public TV producer, and work in Washington.
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